by Enda Walsh
Resolve Productions, Irish Tour, 2017
Director: Melissa Firlit
Set Designers: Craig Dolezel, Melissa Firlit
Costume Designer: Stefanie Genda
Sound Designer: Matt Bittner
Prod. Stage Manager: Mae Frankeberger
Photography by Simon Mills, Douglas Chapin, and Elaine Wong.
The tour played in four different venues in Ireland and Northern Ireland: The Granary Theater in Cork, The Balor Arts Centre in Baleybofey, Glór in Ennis, and The Theatre at the Mill in Newtonabbey. This production of Misterman was originated for the Thingamajig Theatre Company at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, with support from the organizers at Boulder Arts Week.
The play begins inside a warehouse in which Thomas Magill, social outcast in the small Irish town of Inishfree, has managed to finalize all the locations, props, and reel-to-reel recordings he needs to tell the truth of his story. An intimate look into Thomas' troubled world, Misterman explores a regular day of life in Inishfree: from the town's callous behaviour, Thomas' father's lingering legacy, and the act that ultimately sends Thomas past the breaking point. Driven by a single actor playing many roles, the speed, violence, and wit of the play is at odds with its beauty and empathy. The final question the audience is left with: are Thomas' actions just?
Exploring how social ostracism and interpretations of scripture affect one man's mind to the breaking point, this production created a platform for Resolve Production's artistic team to engage with visiting theatre artists and mental health advocates to coordinate talkbacks and audience outreach after performances.
The major design thrust of the show is to help ground the audience in the layered facets of Thomas' world: the physical reality of the warehouse, the multitude of locations he brings to life through his storytelling, and the emotional and spiritual transformation he endures. The LED strip lights at the back of the stage function as a physical manifestation of those emotions, enveloping Thomas in the God that he feels all around him, at turns kind and welcoming, at turns impassive in judgement.